Summary: Be watchful. Guard your faith. Guard your marriage. Guard yourself.
The theme of this passage is rather clear because of one word repeated a few times - faithless (ESV), broken faith (NIV), treachery (KJV), being unfaithful.
• The people has been unfaithful to God and to one another. They had betrayed God and broken the trust with Him.
• Their disregard for God led to the breaking of faith with their partner in marriage.
God has been faithful one. The remnant was back in this land precisely because God has been faithful and true to His promise.
• God fulfilled what He said. The people were back in Judah, the Temple and Jerusalem rebuilt.
• God promised through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah that the future would be glorious because He would one day dwell among them in glory.
Israel could have trusted God and held on to the covenant that He has made with them.
• But the messages of Malachi tell us otherwise. The difficult circumstances and the pagan surroundings led them to betray God.
• We saw that in the last few messages from this book and the charges continues.
Mal 2:10 “Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another?”
• God made a covenant with Abraham that He will be their God and they will be His people. God will bless them and through them the nations will be blessed.
• But now they were “faithless”, they could not trust God. They profane the covenant and yet continued with their religious acts.
• Judah has broken faith with God! The result of which was all these rebuttals that we’ve been reading.
And their unfaithfulness to God was clearly seen in their marriages.
• The charges were: (1) Marrying the daughters of foreign gods, introducing idolatry into the community of faith (2:11), and (2) divorcing the wives of their youth, discarding those in the faith.
• These two issues mentioned together indicate very likely that they were actually divorcing their wives for the foreign women.
Intermarriages wasn’t a new problem; it was a lingering problem.
• When Ezra the priest returned to Jerusalem some 40 years ago, we read in Ezra 9 that the priest was greatly appalled and grieved at what he saw.
• Ezra 9:2 “They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness.”
• Ezra agonised in prayer for the people and urged them to repent.
We are talking about bringing idolatry into the family!
• Noticed what verses 12-13 says. “12As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the LORD cut him off from the tents of Jacob - even though he brings offerings to the LORD Almighty. 13Another thing you do: You flood the LORD's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.”
• We’ve been reading this in chapter 1 and 2. They were still doing religious acts!
• They are bringing offerings to the Lord while opening the door to idolatry.
• Quite unthinkable, but it’s happening, not just then but today. People can be sinning and still doing religion. The Lord condemns this.
BE WATCHFUL. GUARD YOUR FAITH.
That was King Solomon’s mistake - 1 Kings 11:1-4.
1 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh's daughter-Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, "You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods." Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
• Clearly it’s not about marrying someone who looks different or speak a different language. It is about marrying someone who worships false gods or idols.
• When this happens, there is no real union between two persons in marriage, because one aspect can never meet - spiritual union - the worship of God, Lordship of Christ.
Notice the Word says: AS SOLOMON GREW OLD, his wives turned his heart after other gods.
• The consequences did not reveal themselves immediately. You don’t feel the pain immediately, but it’s killing you slowly. Not overnight but ultimately.
• Slowly and surely Solomon finds himself drifting away from God.
• The final verdict? 1 Kings 11:6 “So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.”